Another Drugstore Chain Will Take to the Skies

CVS Pharmacy

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Pharmacy is the next drugstore to get into drone delivery.

CVS Health and UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF), a subsidiary of UPS, are partnering to develop a variety of drone delivery use cases, including business-to-consumer operating models, according to Convenience Store News sister publication Drug Store News.

The program will include delivery of prescriptions and retail products from retail stores to the homes of CVS Pharmacy customers, in addition to other potential use cases from its other business units.

UPSFF already delivers medical samples by drone at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, N.C., and is rapidly building out its ground and air infrastructure to meet the needs of a diverse customer base, the company said. It plans to deliver packages to consumers at their homes in the near future.

"As the country's first fully-certified drone airline, UPS Flight Forward is rapidly building a robust customer base and a network of technology partners to galvanize our leadership in drone delivery," said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer. "We will create new logistics and delivery solutions no one has ever considered. Previous industry thinking had been limited to only ground transportation technology. Now we're thinking in three dimensions."

UPSFF has received the U.S. government's first full Part 135 Standard certification to operate a drone airline. The certification is the highest level the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grants a drone delivery company. It permits the company to fly as many drones supported by as many operators as necessary to meet customer demand.

The company has completed more than 1,500 revenue-generating drone deliveries at the WakeMed campus since March 2019.

"We're always looking to improve convenience for customers through faster, lower-cost and more efficient delivery models," said Kevin Hourican, CVS Pharmacy president. "Given our focus on innovation, we're excited to be the first retail health care company to explore drone delivery options with UPS."

CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health, operates 9,700 locations nationwide.

Convenience Store News and Drug Store News are properties of EnsembleIQ.